Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday, a fine day and going for a ride seemed a better idea than staying at home and feeding my face with chocolate. I decided that it had been a while since I’d been out the back roads to Pongaroa and then back into Danniverke on the great Weber road.

Instead of heading up the main road to Woodville and then thru to the turn off at Mangatainoka I first headed over the Pahiatua track, into Pahiatua and then back to the Pongaroa turnoff just before Mangatainoka. The track is always fun and gets you into the mood for the more serious back roads to Pongaroa.

You always have to watch this road – you never know when you’ll come swooping into a corner and discover gravel & crap all over the road. Sure enough, I wasn’t to be disappointed – at least three sections of unmarked new seal. Also one sheep, 2 hawks and a farmer coming around the corner on the wrong side of the road on his quad – his dog nearly fell off when he swerved.

Just before Pongaroa there is a road that heads off into the wops towards Waihi Falls and I’d never been there. Too late, I went past the turn-off and couldn’t be bothered turning around. I knew that there was another turn-off further past Pongaroa so I mulled it over as I carried on.

In the end I decided to have a look and took the turn-off. The road immediately turned into a very narrow gravel road but I pressed on being careful to keep left in case someone came flying sideways around the corner from the other direction. After about 10km of quite slow going (2nd & 3rd gear stuff) I came to the other road that I could have taken early and turned right to head on towards the falls. The road widened out a bit and got straighter so I managed to get into 4th a few times.

After a while I came to the turn-off to the falls and took this. A quick 2km blast up the gravel road got me to the reserve where a map said that the falls where a 10 min walk away – damn. It was far too hot for tramping in bike riding gear and I hadn’t bought my luggage so I couldn’t really just strip off and go for a walk. Maybe next time.

Turning right out of the road to the falls took me on to more gravel and then finally a sealed but narrow road which then linked up with the main road to Danniverke. It took me a while to get back into the swing of riding quickly again but I still enjoyed the road.

Leaving Danniverke I decided to turn off the main road again and followed some of the minor roads back into Woodville before attacking the gorge. Entering the gorge I caught up with a lot of traffic that was pulling over to watch the steam train heading thru some of the tunnels leading into the gorge. Instead of stopping there I decided to rip thru the gorge and wait for the train to come thru so I could get some photos of it. Took a while for it to come thru but it was great to see & hear it chuffing its way along the tracks. Great also to hear the steam whistle as the engineer let it rip to acknowledge all the people who had stopped to watch it go past.

A quick ride back home for a much needed cuppa and just in time to catch the highlights of the Moto GP in Jerez. Good to see Rossi back on top too. Good wee ride (231km) on a nice day – isn’t that what long weekends are for?

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